Fortnite added a new update today. I know this because my son runs downstairs like it’s Christmas morning.
“New update?” I ask.
“Yep,” he answers, running to the machine.
“How’s the new update?” I ask.
“They took out all the good stuff.”
“Don’t they always do that?”
“Yeah, Fortnite always takes out all the good stuff. It hasn’t been good for years.”
“So why don’t you play something else?”
He looks at me like I’m a grownup, who just doesn’t get it.
“What else am I going to play?” he asks.
I could have this same conversation, with myself, about American right now. The New Upgrade happened in 2016 and it was called MAGA.
“How the upgrade?” I ask.
“Sucks,” I answer.
“Why?” I ask.
“They took out all the good stuff,” I answer.
Don’t get me wrong. American was broken. It needed an upgrade. The version we’d been using for hundreds of years had a lot of glitches. That version’s algorithm was structured around white supremacist culture. Nothing worked for everyone. The administrators of the program were fine, but the glitches made the game unsustainable for the players.
If you don’t know Fortnite, it works like this. Cliff notes version, not google scholar. You’re in the lobby, you pick an outfit (Aka ‘a skin’). You’re delivered to the map on a bus. You drop where you want to drop. Then, you’re on your own, or with your team. Your job is to survive, collect guns, healing materials, and kill everyone else. Survival of the fittest.
Now, if America were Fortnite, you wouldn’t choose where you dropped on the map. You would be dropped somewhere based on your gender, class, color, sexuality, and abilities. If you weren’t from the dominant gender/race/class/sexuality/abilities, you would have fewer opportunities to survive. You would be dropped in a desert with no chance of gathering guns, ammo, and health. And thus, when you got in a battle, you wouldn’t have a chance for survival.
The players, in America’s Fortnite, are done playing the administrator’s game. They’re figuring out how to work around the rules, finding hacks to circumvent the tiny desert they’ve been dropped in, and create a different fate for themselves.
The administrators of the game are pissed. They want to permanently ban anyone who is not loyal to the original rules of the game. They don’t like these new hacks that give, who they see as inferior players, a greater chance of winning the game. They’re getting very angry and they’re sending more ammo and more weapons to the players who they can control. The administrators are stripping away all the good stuff. Now the game really really sucks.
“Was the old version good?” I ask.
“No, it sucked too,” I answer. “It hasn’t been good for hundreds of years.”
“Can we make it better?” I ask.
I look at myself like I’m talking to a child who doesn’t get it. Then, I think about the wall of moms in Portland. I think about the massive ongoing Black Lives Matter Protests. I think about the essential workers, the activists, and the woman who made the cops go away by showing them her vagina. I think about all the good stuff in the game for a second. The good stuff that is being added by the players, not the administrators.
“Why don’t you play something else?” I ask.
“We’re trying,” I answer. “We’re trying.”